Crowdfunding is a wonderful vehicle to get ideas started and generated. Instead of the practice of seeking well-heeled investors who want a giant chunk of the profits for your idea, you invite the general public and those potential well-heeled investors to see if they want to partake of your idea.
The concept is one that worked for some time now. Many ideas have been discovered. I remember salivating over the idea of the household robot Jibo (until I saw it and it has a major creep factor for me but the hubby wants one) and was amazed at the level of support it received. I mean, who doesn’t want a household robot? I’ve seen the use of crowdfunding among friends and strangers who request assistance for anything from medical expenses to the ingredients of potato salad.
Of particular interest to me is how the crowdfunding actually puts power into the idea generator’s hand. They determine, based on certain levels of financial donation, what you the investor receives. For a donation of $5.00, you get X and for a donation of $500 you get X, Y, Z, and a star named after you.
So in general, I like what crowdfunding has done for many people whose voice may not have been heard before. I see it especially useful for inventors, developers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.
But crowdfunding and authors? I’m not so quite sure about that.
GIVE ME MONEY SO I CAN PRODUCE A QUALITY WORK
I can hear you saying, “But Parker, you just said you like the idea of crowdfunding.” And I do. However, I come from a mindset of the appreciating the age old position of the starving artist making their mark in the world through sacrifice, doubts, and plain old hard work.
Yet, a lot of authors have taken to crowdfunding sites to gain funds for their projects. The reasons vary but the majority I’ve seen has been for editing costs, cover art costs, marketing, and shipping costs. There may be more but I’m just going by what I have seen. Some people, who want to be potential authors, will do a crowdfunding campaign stating something to the effect of, “I want to be an author full-time and I need your money to do that.”
I can definitely understand wanting funds to pay for an editor. A good editor is a worthy investment. The range of editing costs are all over the place. I’ve worked with editors that charge an hourly rate, a flat fee, or a per word rate. Some editors charge based on the level of critique you’d like –from copy to content editing to development editing. So I understand the need to get a good editor.
The question is this: do I go to a crowdfunding site and ask people to give me money for an editor or are there things I can do now so that I can pay the editor myself without help? Can you cut back on frivolous expenses and save that money? Can you barter? Or, can you work out a payment arrangement? I think there are alternatives to using a crowdfunding site for costs of this nature.
The old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” has been thrown into the bottom of the sea. In fact, nowadays, a good cover will sell a book right along with a great blurb. With the market saturated by books of all kinds, your book needs to stand out with a fantastic cover. I see how authors utilize the lure of a crowdfunding site to help with cover art costs. I looked up a few companies who provide graphic design services and the prices range from $100.00 to upwards of $700.00. A good cover, again, is an investment you want to put money on. But I go back to my point — are there things I can do in order to pay for the cover myself without soliciting the help of a crowd of people?
And the dreaded marketing! Goodness gracious, marketing is a bear with acid tipped claws. You have to fight this bear in order to let people know your book is out there. You’d rather not fight the bear (literally and figuratively) but if you don’t who’s going to know about what products you have to sell? But does an author need to go to crowdfunding site in order to get help with marketing? There are dozens of free and inexpensive ways to market. Networking with other authors, developing some sort of online platform, blogging, contacting bloggers, doing a virtual book tour, developing your email list, etc. are all sweat equity ways to get the word out.
So I’ll end on this note with a disclaimer: This is an opinion. Opinions can be taken with a grain of salt. This opinion does not in any way decry, denounce, ridicule, or shame any author who has used crowdfunding sites to their advantage. The author of this opinion is fallible and subject to change her mind should life experiences do so. For those who have been successful, more power to them.
The next part of my opinion in regards to this topic will focus on this:
GIVE ME MONEY SO I CAN STOP WORKING AND BECOME A WRITER
About the Author:
Parker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and beloved dog Sarah.
Visit her site at http://www.ParkerJCole.com